It has been a long time since I have been a guest blogger on Scott’s blog, and it’s fun to write a blog for someone else for a change. I just returned from photographing my 6th Olympics for Team USA and was writing blogs at least once a day from PyeongChang.
I have been home for two weeks now and I am finally recovering from the month-long marathon that is the Olympic Games. The days there are crazy long with many of us photographers pulling 18-hour days full of shooting, editing, and moving from venue to venue. But I am not complaining at all! Even though this is my 6th Olympics, I am always excited about the opportunity to photograph some of the best athletes in the world and from the best spots one could ask for.
People often ask me, “What is your favorite sport to photograph?” I usually answer that it is anything new. I live near San Francisco and we do not have a whole lot of bobsled or speed skating in our area. Having a chance to photograph these sports is really fun for me.
The sport I am most invested in during the Winter Olympics is ice hockey. Not only do I shoot for USA Hockey (both men’s and women’s teams), but I play the game as well. This helps me predict the plays and know where to focus my camera during the action. I also get to know the athletes pretty well which makes it more personal for me.
So this leads me to the highlight of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, watching the women of USA Hockey win the gold medal. You see, I photographed for the team 4 years ago in Sochi and watched the ladies lose the gold medal game to the Canadians, even though the U.S. had a two-goal lead towards the end of the game. It was one of the hardest things to watch as the women cried while receiving their silver medals, knowing that the gold was almost in their hands. I remember that moment like it was yesterday. Before I left for these Olympics, I told my friends and family that the one thing I wanted more than anything was to watch the women get redemption for that loss in Sochi.
So that you all can get a feeling of what it is like to photograph the Olympic Games, I am going to take you through my day when I shot this epic battle.
I got to the Gangneung Ice Arena around 10am to photograph the women’s locker room before the big game. After shooting for 15 minutes, the ladies were arriving and I hightailed it out of there to edit the images and post them to my team contact. I then prepared both my Canon 1D X Mark II cameras for the upcoming game. On one camera I had a Canon 70-200mm lens with a rubber hood (which is great for pressing the lens up against the glass), and the second camera had a Canon 8-15mm fish eye lens for getting shots of the athletes if they were right in front of me. I also made sure to bring my Canon 24-70mm lens for a potential gold medal group shot if the ladies won. Even though the game did not start until 1:15pm, at 11:30am I made my way from the press tent to the ice to scout out the cleanest glass panels and request my shooting location. Since I was the official photographer for the team, I got preferential treatment in getting my choice of shooting locations.
Before the game started, the women would come out for their warm ups. The team had requested images from before the game and really wanted a shot to show the intensity on their faces so that they could post a shot on social media leading up to the big matchup. Before they got on the ice, I ran over to the tunnel where they entered the ice and got this shot of Maddie Rooney exuding that intensity.